It was an abrupt reversal of fortune that stirred lingering resentment and fresh tears more than nine years after Hurricane Katrina: Louisiana’s Supreme Court overturned rulings from two lower courts and tossed out a lawsuit that said roughly 7,500 New Orleans public school employees were wrongfully fired after levee failures during the 2005 storm led to inundation of the city.
The Orleans Parish School Board came one step closer to choosing a new superintendent last night. The board voted unanimously to bring back two of three possible candidates for another round of interviews.
Henderson Lewis Jr. is superintendent of East Feliciania Parish and a member of the St. Bernard Parish School Board. Debbra Lindo served as a superintendent in northern California.
The search for a new superintendent has lasted nearly two and a half years. Board member Ira Thomas says that search may be coming to a close.
Last week a state court of appeals ruled in favor of thousands of teachers who were fired just after Hurricane Katrina.
The court said more than 7,000 teachers were wrongly terminated, denied due legal process, and should have been considered for rehiring as schools reopened. The ruling, if upheld, would award the teachers years in back pay and benefits, though it’s not clear who would pay. The Orleans Parish School Board and the state have the option to appeal.
Seventeen state-run charter schools in the Recovery School District will decide in the next two months whether to switch to the oversight of the Orleans Parish School Board. A list of eligible schools will be presented at a state education board meeting Wednesday.
Last year, many charter schools who were able to move turned that deal down, because it would mean they would lose their status as independent districts. That problem has since been resolved; a new law lets them stay independent.
A five-judge state appeal court panel must decide whether to uphold a ruling that thousands of New Orleans public school employees were wrongfully fired after Hurricane Katrina shut down the city and its schools in 2005.
A lawyer for the fired workers told the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal panel Thursday that the Orleans Parish School Board and the state violated the rights of teachers and school workers fired after the storm. She urged the panel to uphold last year's ruling by Judge Ethel Simms Julien.